BI-based magazine wins Utne award for general excellence

It’s always good news to see nonprofit work earn recognition.

This time, the independent, nonprofit YES! Magazine has a reason to celebrate.

YES! was awarded this year’s 2013 Utne Media Award for General Excellence.

Utne Media Awards recognize the excellence and vitality of alternative and independent publishing through a thorough reading process, rather than through a stack of applications. Utne compiles the best and most well-received stories that have been republished in their bimonthly Utne Reader magazine over the year, a publication where readers can find all the best stories in alternative, progressive media.

“It gives solutions journalism recognition, lifts our profile as an alternative media form and it also signifies what people are looking for,” said Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine executive editor.

The General Excellence award is the creme de la creme of Utne awards. It recognizes the publication who consistently found space in the Utne reader on a whole range of topics.

For 15 years, YES! Magazine has published original material that takes a solutions-oriented angle in telling stories about ideas and actions that can bring a more just and sustainable world. Topics in their quarterly publication range from climate change to housing and business co-ops.

In order to stay true to their vision they have remained an ad-free, nonprofit publication since its beginning.

“As journalists, we can find out where change comes from, not only where disfunction and corruption comes from,” Gelder explained. “If you don’t celebrate the progress, than how will (ideas and activism) spread?”

The magazine, which today resides off of Madison Avenue, has been working with a small staff and volunteers since the Clinton-era. They reported on issues that were just on the cusp of realization but not quite on the mainstream consciousness.

Over the years, some things have changed but not so much the vision. With that, their audience has grown to include a more diverse readership.

And Bainbridge Island has turned out to be an apt venue for their work.

“Financially, a lot of our donors come from Bainbridge,” Gelder said. “Our volunteers come from Bainbridge and many of our employees live on Bainbridge. It has really nourished our growth and development.”

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